Conflicts of Interest
Parliament strengthens its scrutiny over Commissioners' Conflicts of Interest
The European Parliament has today approved by a large majority the report by Greens/EFA MEP Pascal Durand on the declarations of interests of European Commissioners. The report is a reaction to multiple ethics scandals in the European Commission, which the Parliament has so far had little powers to uncover or prevent.
Reacting after the vote, rapporteur and Green spokesperson on transparency and democracy Pascal Durand said:
"By adopting these guidelines, the European Parliament has set out clear protocols for avoiding conflicts of interests of Commissioners, not only before they take office, but also during their term of office.
“Until now, the European Parliament had no real power to verify the authenticity of the declarations of interests given by the Commissioners. Following the scandal surrounding former Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who was able to serve two terms while breaking the code of conduct of the Commission, it is clear this needs to change.
“These proposals would greatly strengthen the power of the parliament to prevent such scandals occurring in the first place. The parliament would gain greater power to scrutinise candidates and would be able to suspend the procedure for appointing the Commissioner where a conflict is found.
“MEPs also agreed on extending the cooling off period for all former Commissioners to at least three years. After the bad taste left by the swift passage of Barroso to Goldman Sachs, this is a necessary measure to restore credibility in our institutions. It is high time for the Commission to react.”